Jefferson City, MO – A recent survey shows two-thirds of Missourians support police photo traffic enforcement using red-light cameras – but that many of those supportive Missourians mistakenly assume the technology is not favored by most of their neighbors.
The unusual survey findings are part of a statewide telephone poll of Missouri voters by nationally recognized pollster Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies (POS). Mr. Newhouse and POS have decades of experience conducting polling and analysis for campaigns, news organizations and major companies.
The poll was commissioned by American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the company that first introduced photo traffic enforcement to the United States. ATS has been monitoring public sentiment on traffic safety enforcement through technology for more than two decades.
ATS asked Mr. Newhouse to solicit Missouri voters’ views about red-light cameras at the very time the Missouri General Assembly was considering legislation to ban the technology and critics of red light cameras were receiving media coverage. The telephone poll of 600 Missouri voters was conducted on February 12 and February 15. The poll’s error margin is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
“By a remarkable 66 percent to 30 percent margin, voters supported red light cameras. But by a 47 percent to 31 percent margin, those voters believed that their neighbors opposed red light cameras. In other words, the conventional wisdom that Missourians oppose red light cameras is WRONG,” Mr. Newhouse said. “This means the popularity of red light cameras may be the best-kept secret in Missouri. This ‘disconnect’ between voter perceptions of others’ opinion and their own supportive views is both surprising and unusual in my experience. ”
The poll found strong support for red light cameras across all demographic groups, irrespective of political views, age, gender and geography. It found that women were particularly strong backers of the cameras, at 71 percent support. And 68 percent of the voters polled said police should continue to be able to use red light cameras for enforcement of traffic safety laws.
About 30 Missouri communities use red-light cameras to improve traffic safety. Police in these communities report declines in red light running violations after the cameras are in operation, due to increased motorist awareness. The Missouri Senate Transportation Committee by a recent overwhelming 8-2 vote rejected legislation that would have banned red light cameras. In a recent followup to that vote, Mr. Newhouse presented his poll findings to the Senate Transportation Committee. A copy of the presentation can be reviewed at: LINK
Editor’s Note: To arrange interviews with Mr. Newhouse about the poll, please contact Josh Weiss, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for American Traffic Solutions, at 480-596-4613, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org